A just-announced Hood by Air “Empire”-inspired collection of apparel and accessories includes Champagne glasses, black satin robes and a $300 backpack modeled after the pillow Cookie Lyon uses in an attempted murder-by-smothering.
The collaboration between one of fashion’s buzziest brands and one of TV’s hottest dramas seems to have been in the works for some time since a rectangular, upholstered pillow backpack similar to the one in the collection came down the catwalk at Hood by Air’s Spring 2016 runway show in September during New York Fashion Week. In addition, the HBA X Empire collection includes a smaller pillow clutch ($110) and the would-be weapon appears printed on the front of $90 cropped tank tops, roomy $120 long-sleeved T-shirts and drapey $200 hoodies.
An all-over black-and-white newsprint pattern that includes Cookie Lyon’s name and mugshot (and the word “Snitch” in red Gothic letters) appears on a handful of pieces, including a fitted camisole top ($90), a white, mockneck body suit ($120) and a pair of nylon athletic shorts ($200). In addition to Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson), other characters getting face time in the collection include Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) Hakeem Lyon (Bryshere Y. Gray), Jamal Lyon (Jussie Smollett) and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe), all in black-and-white negative-like prints, and Naomi Campbell’s Camilla Marks, whose photo appears on a black, long-sleeved T-shirt under the word “mother.” (Hardcore “Empire” fans will get the reference.)
The collection, announced Wednesday, is currently available for pre-order at www.hoodbyair.com/empire. It also includes $15 key rings, $40 Champagne flutes and $50 rib-knit beanies bearing a rectangular HBA/Empire logo.
The HBA collection isn’t the first foray into fashion for the popular Fox drama. Back in September, Saks Fifth Avenue filled the windows of its New York City and Beverly Hills flagship stores with an "Empire"-inspired curation of designer goods, including studded leather MCM handbags and backpacks, Jimmy Choo shoes, Alexis Bittar jewelry and Cushnie et Ochs clothes as part of a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.
Given HBA’s reputation for both blurring gender lines and pushing the wearability envelope, the only surprise in the surprise collection is that it’s missing any reference to what might well be the most infamous wardrobe item from the show’s first season -- Rhonda’s getting-down-to-business bib.
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